If and when you decide that starting your own gumball machine based vending business is the right call for you, there are a million things you have to remember. Entrepreneurship is difficult, and actually buying gumball machines will be the least of your worries.
Getting feedback from the people who are actually purchase gumballs from your machines is a great way to gauge how business is going, and if you're able to hear complaints, fix the underlying problem behind them, and very importantly make them strong points for your gumball machine business, you can really spark growth in your company. The owners of the windows at which you place your gumball machines will probably notice how all the customers enjoy the gumballs, and they'll be more likely to let you continue vending there and maybe even encouraging other ports to do the same.
No one really likes getting complaints, especially in a business where so much of the process is automated, but being able to take complaints and suggestions with a smile is what turns good entrepreneurs into great entrepreneurs. The small business association that most local businesses get somewhere between one and five complaints every a week. The Small Business Association also found that most dissatisfied customers (the ones that complained, or wanted to complain) reported that they would be more than happy to continue doing business with that company if their issue was resolved in a timely manner.
This is big: you can turn dissatisfied customers in to life-long loyal customers if you can take suggestions and complaints without getting defensive, and resolving the issues. It really is a case of “the customer is always right.” In the gumball business this may mean refunding lost quarters, apologizing and rushing a refill if the gumball machine was empty, or even reassuring parents who have children who swallow their gum. That last issue is pretty easy; just point them to one of the many scientific studies that explain how gum does not stay in the stomach for seven years.
Ultimately, you have to realize that complaints are a good thing, because every complaint is a red flag: “This is something your gumball machine business is currently screwing up, and here is how you need to fix it.” If you go into every complaint with the attitude of “these people are here to help me improve my business and make customer worries go away,” then every complaining customer ceases to be a nuisance, and becomes a wonderful friend who is an amazing asset. When you realize this, your interactions with your complaining customers are likely to become much more congenial, and this very paradigm shift can make the difference between dissatisfied gumball patrons, and happily customers.
Of course you should always try to preempt complaints before they happen-make sure all your gumball machines are in working order, and try to set up a refill schedule that ensures that the machines are full as much as possible. Following these tips will reduce the amount of complaints you receive, and turn the complaints you do receive into chances for growth.